Senator Paul Wellstone’s death in a plane crash near Eveleth, 20 years ago this morning (Tues), came only 11 days before the 2002 election, and Democrats turned to the only person who could perhaps deliver a win:  former Senator and Vice President Walter Mondale:

“This state is very much in grieving and yet, in a(n) almost cruel way, we must nevertheless proceed with a political campaign.”

But Mondale would not accept the nomination and start campaigning until *after* Paul Wellstone was honored:

The memorial service, attended by tens of thousands at Williams Arena, was mostly tender memories of a well-loved man.  But an unfortunate turn of events may have borne the seeds of the Democrats’ downfall in the election one week later.

Rick Kahn:  “We must keep his legacy alive!   We are gonna win this election for Paul Wellstone!”

Republican Norm Coleman won by 2.2 points.  It was to be Mondale’s final run for public office.